Monday, November 07, 2005

The Concept of Allergy

The concept of immune responses to food antigens is useful in understanding many diseases. Many of the major unsolved disease of our civilization are either degenerative and/or inflammatory and many are recognized to be inflammatory, immune-mediated, hypersensitivity diseases. In this review, a general theory of hypersensitivity disease as a continuum of disease-causing mechanisms is presented.

The term "hypersensitivity" refers to immune-mediated processes that lead to disease. For over 20 years, I have considered the possible role of food antigens in causing or contributing to immune-mediated diseases and looked for opportunities to help patients with simple and safe therapeutic strategies such as diet revision. The original concept of allergy included all immune-mediated disease and the term allergy was interchangeable with the term "hypersensitivity."

Allergy can be thought of as hypersensitivity disorders with external causes. Substances that trigger allergic responses are antigens. These are often proteins that can be found in air, food and water. Airborne antigens such as plant pollens or house dust are well known. Other airborne antigens and food antigens are less obvious. New and foreign substances introduced to the body such as drugs and herbs cause allergic reactions.

Food materials should be given priority consideration since this is the biggest chunk of the environment to get inside human bodies and to interact with immune networks. If the term "food allergy" refers to all interactions between molecules derived from the food supply and the immune system, then many hypersensitivity disorders fall into the category of food allergy. Diverse manifestations of food allergy can only be understood if different patterns of immune activity are appreciated. It is unreasonable to believe that all food allergy can be detected by skin tests or any other simple test.

The first distinction that recurs in the allergy literature is between immediate and delayed patterns of allergic reactivity that loosely correspond to IgE-mediated allergy and non-IgE mediated responses. Many authors refer to the original four categories of immune-mediated injury defined by Gell and Coombs. The concept of four mechanisms is just a starting point for understanding immune-mediated disease. These very complicated defense-injury sequences cause a variety of disease states.

The immediate or type 1 allergy pattern is easily recognized because it involves quick and dramatic symptoms. Hay fever is the most common type 1 allergy and can be diagnosed by allergy skin tests and by IgE antibody tests such as RAST or ELIZA. Delayed patterns of allergy are not so obvious and generally go unrecognized. Allergy skin tests do not show this problem. Symptom onset is delayed many hours after exposure to the trigger. Allergic reactions to drugs such as penicillin and to foods involve delayed hypersensitivity.

The advocates of a broad definition of food allergy run the risk of being evangelical. The conviction that food allergy is a ubiquitous cause of disease comes from knowing the benefits of careful diet revision in medical practice. Many books in the popular literature proclaim the benefits of diet revision and a ground swell of interest and concern has engaged an ever-enlarging group of patients.
Often, the patient who benefits from proper diet revision is distanced from a medical profession who is either not interested or denies the problem of food allergy. Some of the issues that arise are semantic and political, but other issues involve the very complex biology of food-body interactions that are not well understood. Other issues involve the changes in the food supply that have accelerated in the past few decades.

When you do not know about food allergy, you are surrounded by mysterious diseases. When you know about food allergy, several common illness patterns begin to make more sense. Linda Gamlin writing about food allergy in the New Scientist stated that:

"Evidence is growing that many debilitating and chronic symptoms of ill health come from an intolerance for certain foods… The medical establishment remains largely hostile to the notion, leaving the field open to the medical fringe… the main problem is the plethora of symptoms and the variations from one patient to another. Doctors working with food intolerance report more than 40 possible symptoms and conditions...the severity also varies. Some patients are said to have nothing more than the occasional migraine or bout of fatigue, while at the other end of the scale the sufferer is unable to work or lead any sort of normal life."

In response to allergy lobby groups in the USA, the US Congress passed a bill that requires notice on the labels of foodstuffs that contain eight of the most common food allergens. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, will require plain English labeling by the year 2006 of products containing wheat, milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, or eggs. These account for an estimated 90% of all food allergies. The bill also requires the Food and Drug Administration to develop a definition of the term "gluten-free" to help those with celiac disease and who require a gluten free diet for other reasons.

See Allergy and Immunology by Stephen Gislason MD

Saturday, November 05, 2005

What is Intelligence ?

The central feature of intelligence is the ability to understand what is really going on out there and to respond to events with successful and adaptive behavior. Intelligence is built from subsystems that sense, decide, remember and act. It is fashionable to speak in terms of "mental abilities" and to list a number of different mental abilities. Obvious differences in individual mental abilities are measured with standardized tests which are then correlated with performance in school, skills learned, and with other socio-economic measurements. Intelligence test measurements tend to be used as a short-form for general intelligence. Arguments arise when test results are not congruent with preconceptions and vested interests.

Leda Cosmides and John Tooby suggest:

“The brain is a naturally constructed computational system whose function is to solve adaptive information-processing problems (such as face recognition, threat interpretation, language acquisition, or navigation). Over evolutionary time, its circuits were cumulatively added because they "reasoned" or "processed information" in a way that enhanced the adaptive regulation of behavior and physiology....our minds consist of a large number of circuits that are specialized. For example, we have some neural circuits whose design is specialized for vision. All they do is help you see. The design of other neural circuits is specialized for hearing. All they do is detect changes in air pressure, and extract information from it. Still other neural circuits are specialized for sexual attraction -- i.e., they govern what you find sexually arousing, what you regard as beautiful, who you'd like to date, and so on.… you can view the brain as a collection of dedicated mini-computers -- a collection of modules… whose operations are functionally integrated to produce behavior...So it is with your conscious experience. The only things you become aware of are a few high level conclusions passed on by thousands of specialized mechanisms: some that are gathering sensory information from the world, others that are analyzing and evaluating that information, checking for inconsistencies, filling in the blanks, figuring out what it all means.“

The other day, I was in the hardware store getting some plumbing parts and I heard one clerk tell his colleague: "If you yawn, that means there's no oxygen. I mean if you walk into a room and start to yawn there no oxygen there. It's a fact!" Perhaps the clerk should get an award for attempting science but he did not get it right. He is manifesting the human tendency to develop explanatory systems with the information at hand. Everyone has a science and technology. The question is how intelligent and up-to-date is your version of science and technology?

Many people are content with the most available explanations and will not make the effort or do not have the ability to study current science and technology. Some people are quite satisfied with explanations provided by astrology, for example, and make no effort to learn the up-to-date sciences of astronomy and psychology. Astrology might have been a viable science 1000 years ago but in the 21st century, astrology is a historical curiosity that should be in a museum and not in daily use. Irrational explanations reflect a deep human tendency to interpret events superstitiously and with exaggerated self-reference. Advanced education, carefully modeled and supervised by more rational teachers is required to replace irrational explanations with more rational ones.

Common usage of the word "intelligence" involves a scale, not a single value or entity. Humans rate each other on a scale of smart to dumb, or bright to stupid. The idea is that intelligence varies and this means that the ability to understand what is really going on out there is unevenly distributed in any human population. The ability to respond to events with successful and adaptive behavior is a variable expression of intelligence.

The problem with the hardware store clerk's assertion is that the premise is wrong. No oxygen leads to coma and death, not yawning. And yet, there is something appealing about the clerks' interest in the problem and his certainly that he knows what is really going on. His statement is representative of an entire class of human statements that sound like intelligent remarks but are not. When people do not really understand what is going on out there, their statements are wrong, their actions are wrong and the consequences of their actions can be harmful to themselves and others. Some of the errors can be attributed to the habits of a lazy mind, to ignorance, misinformation and some of the error to lack of innate ability. You could imagine a very bright child who was taught all the wrong things at home and at school, he or she would make mistakes because of no information or misinformation. You could also imagine a not-so smart child who was taught all the right things but did not understand or forgot.

The real question is: How do the innate determinants of intelligence and learning interact? You might observe some bright children who were taught all the wrong things and at some point in their life, realize that their teachers misled them and invent new ideas and new strategies, learning through their mistakes. The adaptive principle of intelligence suggests that if you got the wrong direction and the wrong information from your parents and teachers and you are smart, you have a chance to discover your own truth.

From the The Book of Brain

by Stephen J. Gislason MD

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Packaged Diseases - 5 major health problems in one

Heart and Arterial Disease

Diseases of blood vessels are a major cause of premature disability and death. Heart attacks and strokes are the most devastating consequences of damaged arteries and increased clotting of blood. The main event is the rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque and the subsequent occlusion of the artery by a blood clot. No group of diseases has received more attention than diet-related arterial disease. No other diseases have received more public promotion and educational effort both from government agencies and from private fund-raising organizations such as the American and Canadian Heart Associations.

Arterial disease is a whole body disease, but tends to be managed by physicians and surgeons as a localized disease. In other words, when the heart arteries are plugged you go to see a cardiologist and then a heart surgeon. When the vessels to the brain are involved, you go to a neurologist and then possibly a neurosurgeon. When the vessels to your leg are obstructed, you go to a peripheral vascular surgeon. When the vessels to your penis are plugged, you go to an urologist and a marital counselor.

Arterial disease is part of a package deal of disease manifestations that are caused any eating too much of the wrong foods, exercising too little and otherwise indulging in unhealthy habits such as smoking and overindulging in alcoholic beverages. Environmental factors such as air pollution with chemicals produced by the combustion of petroleum products and other fuels contributes to the body burden of disease. Each component in this package deal tends to have separate support and lobby groups that champion vested interests. Doctors tend to specialize in one component of the overall package. Thus diabetes is separated from obesity and obesity is separated from hypertension, often treated as a separate issue from coronary artery disease, which is separated from strokes. Getting all the specialized vested interests together has proved to be an impossible task.

You might have assumed that your family doctor is supposed to help you prevent all these disease, but his or her time is limited and preventive resources are meager at the doctor’s office. It turns you that the only person in the whole expensive medical/surgical network that can make sense of whole package deal - arterial disease and all its associated disorders - is the patient. It is up to you, dear reader to solve this collection of health problems by removing the causes! This book is dedicated to the effort of intelligent well-motivated people to become well-informed and to take charge of their own management. A non-smoking, fitness center that serves Alpha Nutrition Program meals can replace hospitals, clinics, MDs offices, rehab programs and nursing homes.

Normally Abnormal

Thinking about common diseases is becoming more sophisticated. Life is a continuing series of interactions between a person and his or her environment. Some of the interactions are healthy and promote long lives. Other interactions are unhealthy and lead to disease. There is a continuum of events that progress from a young healthy body to one with vascular disease, organ dysfunction, organ injury, and finally, death.

Most of us would like to be health, productive and live a long life. Most of us have some control over interactions with our environment. We know that the critical dominants of disease are within the range of personal choices. When a person develops overt cardiovascular disease, we can usually conclude that they made poor choices consistently over many years. There are many reasons for wrong choices, beginning with ignorance. Some ignorance is a result of lack of understanding, but most ignorance is active ignoring and denying the harmful consequences of bad choices made. Obviously, the sooner that bad choices are corrected, the better the results in the long term.

Cardiologists realize that medical interventions tend to occur late in the disease continuum if at all. People in their 20s and 30s can have fatty plaque in their coronary arteries, but may not show up for medical care until they are older than 60 years. The evidence does suggest that some interventions are beneficial in terms of preventing heart attacks and strokes and that disease progression can be halted by important changes in diet and increased exercise. The occurrence of a heart attack or stroke conforms that atherosclerosis is advanced, damage has been done and that the rules of intervention have changed.

In a discussion of the progression of atherosclerosis, Weintraub suggested: “I think it is important that we recognize that this process is not something that we were supposed to have to endure. We eat things that are wrong and our lipid levels are far higher than they were ever designed to be, and as a consequence we are experiencing injuries that were never part of our biologic programming. Think of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS) system, which has direct pathobiologic effects on a variety of tissues. It was designed to be part of a repair or temporary compensation system. The problem is that we humans end up with the RAAS in the constant "on" position and we are constantly suffering oxidative injury from the oxidized lipids we graze on. We are not born with the ability to successfully handle the overload we place on our system, and this is why we develop heart failure after an MI -- because our normal, healthy, compensatory system is ill-suited for our bad behavior.”

There are many risk factor measurements in common use such as cholesterol, LDH and HDL. While risk factors are relevant, they do not reveal what everyone really wants to know – how much arterial damage already exists and how fast is it progressing. Weintraub suggested using two non-invasive tests: 1. measure microalbuminuria in the urine and 2. measure carotid artery intimal-medial thickening (IMT). Increasing carotid artery IMT and microalbuminuria show progression toward tissue damage. Stable or decreasing carotid IMT would be most reassuring.. He potions out that microalbuminuria is not an expensive test and carotid artery IMT is not less expensive than echocardiography. While an ECG is not expensive, it reveals only existing heart damage and is not predictive of progression of coronary artery disease.

From the Book of Heart and Arteries by Stephen Gislason MD

Friday, July 08, 2005

Gluten Allergy and Celiac Disease

Gluten Allergy, A Prototype of Disease Causation

My discovery that I had celiac disease 20 years ago changed my diet, lifestyle and my approach to medical practice. These changes led me to consider areas of ignorance in medicine that persist today.

Immune responses to gluten, the proteins found in cereal grains are a common cause of disease. In celiac disease the gastrointestinal tract is the primary target organ; however systemic disease is an important consequence of cereal grain ingestion. I think that the people diagnosed with celiac disease are a sub-population of a much larger, undiagnosed group with gluten allergy.

I invented the Alpha Nutrition Program as the best diet revision strategy for anyone with diagnosed celiac disease, or any person with symptoms suggestive of gluten allergy

Immune responses to gluten in the digestive tract are just the beginning for remarkably prolific disease-causing mechanisms that can affect every tissue in the body. A list of diseases that occur with increased frequency in celiac patients include diabetes, thyroid disease, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, sacroileitis, sarcoidosis, vasculitis, inflammatory lung disease, eye inflammation, cerebellar ataxia and schizophrenia. These and other immune-mediated diseases can be linked to gluten ingestion. These associations suggest that people with a tendency to immune hypersensitivity diseases are vulnerable to food antigens that can cause systemic autoimmune disease.

In their review of these associated disorders, Mulder and Tygart repeated the basic ideas that can explain the prolific ability of of gluten to cause disease downstream from a disordered gastrointestinal tract. They stated:

"Patients with (celiac disease and) selective IgA deficiency often have circulating antibodies to food proteins; they also have circulating immune complexes, suggesting that absence of an intestinal IgA barrier might allow the absorption of antigenic material from the gut. Antibodies to some of the antigens might cross react with the host's self components and might indirectly produce autoimmune disease."

For example, Lubrano et al evaluated the overall prevalence of joint involvement in 200 adult celiac patients An arthritis was present in 26% of patients. Prevalence ranged from 41% in patients on a regular diet to 21.6% in patients on a gluten-free diet. Arthritis was peripheral in 19 patients, axial in 15 and an overlap of both in 18 subjects. Their data suggest that arthritis is more common than previous reported. Arthritis occurring in 21.6% of patients on a gluten-free diet suggests that other food allergens may be responsible - cow's milk, eggs, meat and soya protein would have to be considered high risk foods and further diet revision undertaken.

See Gluten Problems and Solutions by Stephen Gislason MD

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Diet revision and Exercise are the Best Treatments for Diabetes 2

Diet Revision and Exercise are the Best Treatments for Diabetes 2

Standard medical treatment protocols for diabetes 2 always mention diet revision and then quickly proceed to medication options. While diet control is always mentioned, the critical, decisive importance of diet revision and exercise is not emphasized and in practice, diet revision is often neglected in favor of drug treatments.

Drug treatments of Type 2 Diabetes do not have a good track record. The main problem is the false belief that a drug or combination of drugs can rescue an individual from a disease-causing lifestyle. While there are theoretical benefits to be had with the newer medications, the long-term outcomes are not known. An overweight diabetic should exercise all the therapeutic and preventative options available before taking drugs.

The most negative aspect of medication is that a drug prescription means that the patient is passive, dependent and has been excused from making all the important changes that will preserve body parts and ultimately save his or her life. If the drug is taken as permission to postpone or forego the vitally important changes in lifestyle, then the prescription has done a disservice. Even with medication, precise diet control is still required to maintain reasonable sugar levels.

I do not advocate drug use with the exception of taking very low ASA and a diuretic that can be useful in controlling blood pressure. Whelton et al confirmed an earlier finding that inexpensive diuretics at low dose were effective preventing heart attacks and fatal heart disease in people with diabetes 2. In their study, there were more heart attacks in people with pre-diabetes on a calcium channel blocker than those on a diuretic. They concluded: ”Our results provide no evidence of superiority for treatment with calcium channel blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors compared with a thiazide-type diuretic during first-step antihypertensive therapy in subjects with diabetes, impaired fasting glucose or normal glucose levels.”

See the Book of Diabetes 2 by Stephen Gislason MD

Reference: Paul K. Whelton, MD, MSc; Joshua Barzilay, MD; William C. Cushman, MD; Barry R. Davis, MD, PhD; Ekambaram IIamathi, MD; John B. Kostis, MD; Frans H. H. Leenen, MD, PhD; Gail T. Louis, RN; Karen L. Margolis, MD; David E. Mathis, MD; Jamal Moloo, MD; Chuke Nwachuku, MA, MPH, DrPH; Deborah Panebianco, MD; David C. Parish, MD; Sara Pressel, MS; Debra L. Simmons, MD; Udho Thadani, MD; for the ALLHAT Collaborative Research Group. Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT). Clinical Outcomes in Antihypertensive Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, Impaired Fasting Glucose Concentration, and normal blood sugar. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:1401-1409.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Drugging Children

I am deeply disturbed by the use of psychotropic drugs in children.

You could argue that half the biological determinants of children learning and behavior problems are in the genes and the other half are in the food and the environment. You can also argue that if the biological determinants are wrong, the best parents, best schools and most supportive community will fail to produce sane, happy, productive adults.

The problem may be concealed in the environment as an agent X, a chemical hidden in air pollution, or a protein in milk or bread that interferes with brain function. Or, the problem might be more obvious, such as young children wired on colas or older children drunk on beer and stoned on marijuana.

When you take a child suffering from bad chemistry to the psychiatrist and he prescribes antidepressants, Ritalin or amphetamines, you do not get a healthy sane child, you get a worse mix of bad chemicals.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a descriptive term that refers to restless, distractible children who have a knack for disrupting any environment that tries to enclose and control them. They have poor impulse control, often display abrupt mood swings, have inappropriate anger, and sometimes are violent. Their schoolwork suffers from inattention, disorganization, poor memory, and behavior disruptive of an otherwise orderly classroom.

Several theories have been advanced to explain ADHD. The theory of "minimal brain damage or dysfunction" had many advocates. The child is viewed as having a fixed disability, manifesting a structural problem of brain, acquired during prenatal development or at birth. Language disability or dyslexia has also been attributed to a fixed circuitry problem in the brain that impairs encoding and decoding of language symbols. The brain-damage theories ignore the living, dynamic properties of the brain; they seem to view the brain as an appliance or computer that comes hardwired to behave in a certain way. But what about all the environmental factors that influence the growth and development of the brain? What about the molecular and cellular dynamics of the brain? What about the daily input of molecular substances to the brain through air, food and water?

"Sugar" was often blamed for hyperactivity. Parents often observe that children's' behavior deteriorates after eating sugar-containing foods, such as chocolate chip cookies, cake, jello, kool-aid, pop, strawberry ice cream, or chocolate bars. They blame “sugar” and do not think of other ingredients in the food as potential problems. The sugar and hyperactivity connection illustrates a mistake of attribution, blaming the results of the complex interaction of many food ingredients with the body on only one of the ingredients. When sugar (glucose and sucrose) alone is given to children, they tend to be sedated, with unchanged or even decreased physical activity.

Caffeine is major problem. Hirsch reported a 252% increase in ADHD scores (using the Connor’s scale) when children drank less than one can of caffeinated colas. Coca cola contains 44 mg per 12 oz can and Pepsi Cola 38 mg per can. High caffeine drinks such as Jolt and Red Bull are available in supermarkets and may be consumed by children.

The pharmacological approach to hyperactivity is based on an abstract, over simplified drug-neurotransmitter model of brain function. The dopamine system is involved in reward-seeking behavior, sexual behavior, control of movement, regulation of pituitary-hormone secretion, and memory functions. ADHD may be attributed to dopamine deficiency. Dopamine synthesis slowly increases as children grow and may not reach full capacity until late teens. This is one of the built-in maturation lags that prevents children from assuming more mature behavior in their early life. Dopamine in young animals exerts a protective influence against hyperactivity. Since schizophrenia is associated with increased dopaminergic activity and is improved by dopamine-blocking agents, there is a reciprocal relationship between psychosis and hyperactivity.

A drug treatment approach is designed to stimulate dopamine circuits. Drug options have included pemoline, L-dopa, bromocriptine, amantadine, and lergotrile. Ritalin and amphetamines increase dopaminergic activity and decrease hyperactivity while they increase stereotypy. Ritalin has become the "drug of choice" for children with ADHD. Any child treated with Ritalin is moved from the hyperactivity end of the spectrum toward a schizophrenia-like state. Ritalin therapy poses risks, some obvious and others concealed. The most obvious Ritalin effect is appetite suppression and retarded growth. Some parents complain that their Ritalin-treated child acts like a "zombie". They describe emotional blunting and detachment from family and friends, a schizophrenic attribute. Children on higher doses and with chronic use of Ritalin may manifest paranoid features: there is a tendency to be overly suspicious, to withdraw, to get angry, and to display restless, non-productive behavior.

People who abuse the related class of drugs, amphetamines, often develop a psychotic state with full-blown paranoia. Ritalin may also produce disruption of movement control in a few patients. Facial and head tics may appear and may progress to Tourette's syndrome which includes peculiar grunting and respiratory tics, associated with compulsive behaviors and explosive swearing.

Drugs that influence the dopamine system all show longterm adverse effects on the motor system and the psyche. Studies on the effects of long term Ritalin use show the mixed results expected from a symptomatic drug therapy that does nothing to remove the underlying cause of the disorder.

If you ask the question: Should children or adults with ADHD take Ritalin long term?  My answer is easy – definitely NOT.

Amphetamines are the second class of drugs used to treat ADHD. The amphetamines have a long history of use and abuse. A popular prescription version,  Adderall® and Adderall Xr®  ( a sustained release form) was withdrawn from the market in Canada after Health Canada issued a warning that there were 20 international reports of sudden death in patients taking either Adderall® (sold in the United States, not in Canada) or Adderall Xr® (sold in Canada). These deaths were not associated with overdose, misuse or abuse. Fourteen deaths occurred in children, and six deaths in adults. [i] 

Should children or adults with ADHD take ampethamines long term?  My answer is easy – definitely NOT.

Another drug, Strattera, marketed as the first non-stimulant ADHD medication causes liver damage. The USFDA warned that severe liver damage may progress to liver failure resulting in death or the need for a liver transplant in a small percentage of patients taking Strattera. The labeling also notes that the number of actual cases of severe liver damage is unknown because of under-reporting of post-marketing adverse events.

Should children or adults with ADHD take Stattera long term?  My answer is easy – definitely NOT.

[i] Feb 9 2005 OTTAWA - Health Canada instructed Shire BioChem Inc., the manufacturer of ADDERALL XR® to withdraw the drug from the Canadian market. Health Canada has suspended the market authorization of the product due to safety information concerning the association of sudden deaths, heart-related deaths, and strokes in children and adults taking usual recommended doses of ADDERALL® and ADDERALL XR®. The immediate release form of ADDERALL® has never been marketed in Canada. Health Canada is advising patients who are currently being treated with ADDERALL XR® to consult their physician immediately about use of the drug and selecting treatment alternatives. Health Canada's decision comes as a result of a thorough review of safety information provided by the manufacturer, which indicated there were 20 international reports of sudden death in patients taking either ADDERALL® (sold in the United States, not in Canada) or ADDERALL XR® (sold in Canada). These deaths were not associated with overdose, misuse or abuse. Fourteen deaths occurred in children, and six deaths in adults. There were 12 reports of stroke, two of which occurred in children. None of the reported deaths or strokes occurred in Canada. A preliminary review of safety data for the other related stimulants authorized for use in the treatment of ADHD in Canada has been conducted. In that review, the incidence of serious adverse reactions leading to death was higher in ADDERALL® and ADDERALL RX combined than in the other drugs of this class

Children's Health  Stephen Gislason MD  Revised Jan. 2015

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Drug Bias in Medicine

A bias toward drug prescription is endemic in medicine. In Canada, there are 5,000 prescription drugs for sale. In the year 2000 in the United States, 173 million people filled 2.2 billion outpatient prescriptions, accounting for $103 billion in expenditures. Each year in Canada and the USA the money spent on prescription drugs increases. There are deep and fundamental problems with drug prescriptions. The problems are located in five groups; the producers, the prescribers, the dispensers, the users and the payers. Drug users are essentially naive and gullible and assume that the other groups have their interests first and foremost in mind. The producers have profit as the main motive.

The prescribers are dependent on the drug producers and remarkably obedient to the producers marketing commands. Some have argued the drug producers now own medicine and simply compete with each other for their market share.

The World Health Organization's Model List of Essential Drugs has 350 entries. The WHO defines essential medicines as those drugs that "satisfy the priority health care needs of the population. They are selected with due regard to public health relevance, evidence on efficacy and safety, and comparative cost-effectiveness." Even if you agree with the WHO drug list, most of the drugs are special purpose agents that have limited applicability. I have long thought that a physician could serve his or her patients best with a list of about 20 well-chosen, and well-understood drugs. As it now stands, primary care physicians prescribe 80% of the 5000 drugs available and understand less than 20 in any detail. Many patients take 6 to 10 prescription drugs daily; the number of drugs increases with age.

The medical management of arterial disease, for example, provides major markets for a variety of expensive prescription drugs. The scientific evidence that links high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes 2 and obesity grows stronger everyday. These are inter-connected diseases caused by eating too much of the wrong food and exercising too little. In Canada, a public financed health care system is too costly and is deteriorating rapidly as budget cuts reduce resources available. The tidal wave of food-related disease threatens to bankrupt health care systems if existing methods of diagnosis and treatment continue to be used.

Stephen Gislason MD

Please See Book of Heart and Arterial Disease

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Environmed Research publishes two series of books

Environmed Research offers two series of books written by Stephen Gislason MD.

There are 19 books in the Alpha Nutrition Health Education series that address the most important health issues and their solution.

Persona Digital Books publishes a series of books on current topics in psychology, sociology, neuroscience and philosophy. eBooks and can be downloaded to any destination on the planet. Printed books and eBooks are ordered from Alpha Online... shipped only to Canada and the USA by postal services.

Everyone, who is interested in Nutritional Therapy, will need a copy of the book, The Alpha Nutrition Program. The underlying concept is that the solution for most diseases requires your active involvement. To solve a health problem, important changes to diet, exercise and lifestyle are required. Smart people, given the right information, should be able to self-manage and solve most of their health problems. We include technical sections and abstracts from the medical literature in many publications. The information in some texts will overlap to some degree, but the reader may want to go further and order texts that are more detailed. You might become interested in food allergy, for example, when you read discussions in the Book of Arthritis or the Book of Skin and want to read more in the book Immunology Notes.

Alpha Education Books

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Inflammation, Heart Attacks and Strokes

Inflammation, Heart Attacks and Strokes

The Alpha Nutrition Program is offered as a guide to diet revision for the prevention and treatment of stokes. The big difference is the exclusion of cows milk and wheat from the diet. Dr. Gislason explains the reasoning in the Book of Heart and Arteries recently released in a revised edition. He states, for example:

“There has been a relatively sudden paradigm shift in cardiovascular medicine from fat-based theories of arterial disease toward recognition of the pervasive role of inflammation. Inflammation is a fundamental pattern of immune response. Chronic inflammation may arise from food, infection, and autoimmune disease. I have yet to meet a cardiologist who knows that food antigens, such as cow’s milk proteins, can trigger inflammatory disease. Delayed patterns of food allergy may cause inflammation in vessel walls and trigger the clotting mechanism. Keaney et al reported that:” background Inflammation within vulnerable coronary plaques may cause unstable angina by promoting rupture and erosion. In unstable angina, activated leukocytes may be found in peripheral and coronary-sinus blood. Inflammation can be treated by removing the causes of inflammation, treating infection and using anti-inflammatory medication such as ASA and ibuprofen. The role of food proteins and immune complexes as agents of inflammation is rarely investigated and may turn out to be the hidden agent behind many heart attacks and strokes.”

Read information online at
The Book of Arterial Disease is an intelligent guide to one the most common and most lethal of health problems. This book explains why the 80 million Canadians and Americans who have high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and are at risk of having heart attacks and strokes. They should seek the benefits of complete diet revision therapy!


Friday, June 03, 2005

Elemental nutrient formulas

Alpha Nutrition specializes in elemental nutrient formulas, the pure expression of nutrient biochemistry. We use the concept of nutrient modules to create nutrient formulas. A definition of modules is: a unit that is combined with others to form a larger structure or system, and is self-contained enough to be easily rearranged, replaced, or interchanged to form different structures or systems.

We provide a choice of nutrient modules so that food can be replaced, nutrient intake can be supplemented and balanced in a variety of ways. These precise nutrient sets are formulated by assembling nutrients into modules that supply energy, electrolytes, antioxidants, phosphate, vitamins, minerals, neurotransmitter substrates and amino acids as the protein building blocks. The formulas are all packaged as dry powders to be mixed with water or juices and taken orally.

See our online tutorial at